The Gem Saloon
MY NEW YORK STORY By Lee Gabay
teve Nash was born in South Africa, grew up in British Columbia, went to college in California but is a New Yorker at heart. With his just opened Murray Hill restaurant, The Gem Saloon and his decade-long dynamic philanthropic work towards the wellness of the city’s young people, Nash is a now a sustainable part of New York’s positive fabric. “What I’ve noticed about the people here is they are far from shy, but the biggest thing about New Yorkers are their hearts and generosity,” says Nash.
NASH-VILLE, NYC Back in 2004, at the height of his basketball playing prowess and soon to receive the first of consecutive NBA Most Valuable Player awards, the forward-thinking point guard began a foundation. Its mission would provide grants for child-focused non-for-profits, medical services in areas of poverty, community reengagement for victims of sexual abuse/violence and environmental education via sustainable practices. This egress from basketball guided him back to his family’s favorite sport—soccer. Steve’s father John played professionally in England and South Africa, and his younger brother Martin played for the Canadian National team and Vancouver Whitecaps (for which Nash is now part owner). A lifelong Tottenham Hotspur fanatic, Nash fused his charitable mission with his NBA connections and a nagging need to run around the pitch. By dreaming up the Showdown in Chinatown, a charity soccer game featuring basketball and soccer all-stars, the Steve Nash Foundation subsequently galvanized a charming Lower East Side nook of the city which doesn’t often have world-class athletes running around on its fields. The antecedent to the original game in 2007 began with a discussion between Nash and his summer rec-league soccer partner, Italian NBA journalist Simone Sandri, who thought it would be special if they pooled their vast and collective resources to do something unique and positive for the community. “We saw it as a cool show for the neighborhood, which could additionally raise money and bring awareness to our non-profit work,” says Nash. Thierry Henry, Jason Kidd, and Barron Davis were among the many to show up at Sara D. Roosevelt Park 10 years ago. 110 | OUR CITY, YOUR LIFE | AUGUST 2017
Steve Nash plays soccer in Chinatown Steve Nash & the media ©Joseph Zillo